by Hydrargentium

His brain switched on, and he felt the flickers of awareness, sharper than anything, scattered with moments of near numbness. It always seemed to take some time for his brain settle in, like a neon light, flickering harshly when first powered up, then finding equilibrium in a bright, steady glow — a process that was hard to measure subjectively, but in reality lasted less than a second. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, but it was exciting, and once on, he could feel nothing less than ecstatic.

Before he’d even turned his head to look in the direction of the explosion, he’d already processed his memories of the sound, analysing it for intensity, overtones, and resonance signatures, matching them against prior knowledge and experience, and the vast library of data his eidetic memory gave him access to. Before he’d even had time to see the tall column of indigo smoke that poured up into the sky above the forest canopy, he already knew the source. Last he’d heard, though, that source had been in the Montana SuperCell.